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Old May 8 2012, 05:50 PM   #356
cooleddie74
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Re: The Action Figure and Toy Collecting and Discussion Thread!

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
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Leroy wrote: View Post
Anyone remember the glut of Episode 1 merchandise that lasted years after the movie was released? I remember for the longest time all you could find for Star Wars figures was Darth Maul and only Darth Maul!
Remember it? I lived through it and was scarred for life! And yeah, those Episode I pegwarmers still hung around in some stores as late as 2001. Darth Maul...C-3PO(without body coverings)...Ric Olie the royal starship pilot...all the usual suspects. The last three waves of Episode I showed up just once or twice apiece so most places were never lucky enough to have a glut of Holographic Darth Sidious, the Pit Droids, Sio Bibble or the Swimming Jar Jar...they had to put up with figures from the FIRST waves in the spring and summer of '99. When you have to stare at kid Anakin with his Naboo Starfighter helmet or Viceroy Nute Gunray for month after month after month for over a year in some instances it gets pretty tiresome to say the least.
I think that was when Hasbro publicly took over the Star Wars license from Kenner (which they had acquired four years earlier). They really overestimated how big the demand was for Episode I toys, but they were probably thinking that it was the first new Star Wars movie in sixteen years and that demand would be through the roof.
The official handover took place in 1998. That's when modern SW toy packaging switched from the classic Kenner logo to the Hasbro one. But part of me doesn't blame the company for overproducing Episode I merchandise. In 20/20 hindsight and from a distance of almost thirteen years it seems like a complete overreaction on the company's part, but at the time people just assumed that the new prequel would be the biggest thing since sliced bread and all the toys would fly off the shelves like lightning. Episode I is actually the only modern blockbuster with merchandising tie-ins that I think even remotely lived up to sales expectations. The movie made $429 million domestic in its original run and the Episode I toys and collectibles did fly off shelves depending on which wave of figures you were talking about and which month or year. The "Midnight Madness" merchandise debut of May 3, 1999 saw astronomical sales of Episode I figures, vehicles and other product and some later waves in the line were excellent sellers as well due to being produced in much, much smaller quantities. But as 2000 wore on it was clear that retailers overordered and by a light year, so we had to keep looking at pegs chock full of the first Ewan McGregor figure, Watto or the Naboo security chief Captain Panaka for what seemed like an eternity.
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